Google Meet preps ‘Stereo separation’ as Duo merger nears

Google Meet is set to gain a new feature, “stereo separation” of call audio, ahead of the app being merged with Google Duo.

About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.

Stereo separation

Google Duo version 169 is rolling out now via the Play Store, and in it, we find that the app is preparing a new feature that it calls “binaural audio” or “stereo separation.” These same strings also appear in the latest release of Gmail, suggesting that stereo separation is coming to Google Meet first.

Stereo separation
Lets you hear where people who speak are on your screen

Typically in calling apps, the same audio is sent to both sides of your speakers or headphones. From the little bit we can piece together, it seems that enabling stereo separation in Meet will pan the call audio toward the left or right, depending on where the person speaking appears on your screen.

This should make it much easier to identify who is speaking when in a larger meeting, as your ears should cue you on where to look. Meet’s stereo separation could also potentially make group calls a bit more immersive.

Duo/Meet merger progress

Elsewhere in the Duo update, Google is continuing to work toward merging it with their other calling app, Meet, as announced this month. Since Google Duo is the app that will survive the merger, Meet’s features are steadily being ported over to Duo behind the scenes.

As the first major sign of this progressing, we find preparations for Duo to support the meeting codes and links generated by Google Meet.

Join a meeting
”Enter a meeting link, nickname or the code provided by the meeting organizer Note: This meeting is secured with Cloud encryption but not end-to-end encryption”

This feature comes with an expressly noted caveat that unlike Duo calls which are end-to-end encrypted, meetings from Google Meet use “Cloud encryption.” According to Google’s in-app description, the switch to Cloud encryption is necessary for features like in-meeting chat and live captions.

Meet uses cloud encryption to keep your conversations private. Unlike end-to-end encryption, cloud encryption lets you use more features like chat and live captions. Your Google Account name and pronouns will be shown to others in a call. People you have previously blocked in Duo can join calls in Meet.

Additionally, Duo is also set to gain an in-app banner explaining the upcoming merger with Google Meet. The banner will explain that Duo will eventually be renamed to “Meet” and gain a new icon, as Google had originally laid out at the start of this month.

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